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Design Thinking in Rural North Carolina

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  • Design Thinking in Rural North Carolina
    Design for Relief and Aid
  • In the fall of my senior year, I was in a studio called Design for Relief & Aid taught by Megan Hall and Rachael Huston. The studio asked us, “Why do graphic designers need to be involved providing relief and aid?” Over the course of the semester, we engaged in research, prototyping, interviews, and before & after observations to create deliverables meant for short-term and long-term change. We were each asked to find a crisis that meant something to us— I focused on economic disparity in rural North Carolina.

    We started with a warm-up assignment where we were given a week to create a series of posters that encourage designers to become invested in the issue. I designed posters to advocate for a theoretical program that would connect NC State design students with rural communities. The two posters reflect both perspectives—the design student’s and the rural community’s point of view. The posters were made to demonstrate a possible conversation between the two groups to express the most important values in these communities that need to be voiced.

    For the rest of the semester, I accumulated research to develop my two deliverables.
    For my short-term goal, I created a workbook to teach rural individuals how to use design thinking to better align their community’s needs.My long-term deliverable was proposing a community network that merges the idea of a co-op and a business incubator. This network adapts to existing rural business values instead of traditional urban growth expectations.
  • In February 2012, I was awarded the Design Ignites Change Implementation Award to continue this work in Rural NC partnered with the Institute for Emerging Issues.